Gacaca courts have lessons for region

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Posted  Saturday, April 14   2012 at  13:49

I had an engaging discussion with a white South African researcher on a Kigali-Entebbe flight about a year ago.

She’d been to Kigali to study the Gacaca courts. According to her, the system provides “transitional justice,” and cannot qualify to be counted among known justice systems of the world.

I knew she would not be convinced, but I told her about my experience with the Gacaca system, since I had attended several court sessions and witnessed numerous projects by the rehabilitated genocidaires, who were now living in harmony with their neighbours.

Her argument was the typical Western stereo-typing: “This is not a codified justice system, so it only remains transitional justice.... it lacks provisions for the accused to have access to legal representation....fair hearing...fundamental human rights.... and the usual copy-paste language of ‘rightists.’

But there’s something East Africans can learn and adopt from the Gacaca system? Are we waiting for “foreign experts” to do it for us?

What would it take for our universities to undertake studies into the Gacaca and related justice systems in the region, to come up with our own home-grown judicial system?

If we can have Khalid courts, why not have provisions for the growth our system, based on our value systems? Our thinkers and planners, our task is cut for you.

Matsiko Kahunga

Africans must learn to trade with each other

In an increasingly global world, African countries should trade more among themselves.

Asia, Europe and Latin America long discovered the trick and increased trade among themselves.

A growing middle class on the continent is giving hope that trade can thrive in Africa.

Improved connectivity through investment in infrastructure projects is making Africa an emerging giant in international trade.

Kenya and her Eastern Africa neighbours are working on the Lapsset –Lamu port-cum-road projects. This is the direction the continent should take to empower its people economically.

It is estimated that the projects will have far reaching economic implications to the region upon completion.

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